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Samsung Accused Of Abusing Workers In Brazil

Inspections of Samsung's factories in Brazil have allegedly uncovered mistreatment of workers, prompting the government to act.

A suit seeking some $110 million in damages has been filed against Samsung in Brazil after two inspections of its factory in Manaus revealed widespread abuses of workers' rights. The factory makes all kinds of products, from TVs to smartphones.

The official inspections were carried out by the Ministry of Labor and Employment in May 2011 and again in May this year. They revealed a number of infractions including workers being required to spend more than 10 to 15 hours a day on foot without a break, and sometimes working up to 27 days in a row. Overly repetitive movements by workers on the construction line were said to have led to a huge number of medical complaints. Work environments were also poor, with tables at the wrong height and a shortage of chairs. The Ministry is quoted as saying Samsung simply doesn't "have the appropriate management of occupational health," and notes that when it requested relevant documentation, Samsung refused to supply it. Samsung has responded by saying it will investigate.

Apple, Samsung's bitter rival in the mobile tech world, has long been targeted for alleged worker abuses in what are described as "its" factories in China, with Foxconn being the most well-known contractor name in this case. In response to pressure, Apple committed to carrying out independent inspections of its suppliers to prevent abuses.

[Image via Flickr user: Steve Jurvetson]

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  • dalef

    I do not understand the short-sightedness with a company mistreating their employees. While these malignant companies may save a small amount of money by skimping on chairs, not permitting appropriate breaks, and overworking their employees, they will lose far more in workman's compensation, loss of productivity due to injury, hiring and training costs involved in acquiring and teaching new employees, fines/legal costs, and countering the bad will generated once their actions become known.

    By treating workers well, the workers would probably be more productive and the company would not have to deal with the negative consequence listed above.